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ShoutingMan

Armada and the Newb: How do I fleet-ify these things?

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(I don't know if this is the right place for this -- or if FFG forums are oriented towards this type of post. I'm new-ish to Armada (playing with a friend equally new to the whole affair), and I'm trying to understand the game's complexities, especially ramping up in with five Waves released and the full game being 400 points on a 6' x 3' field.)

 


To summarize: I'd advise the beginner to ignore the siren's call of the large complex fleet and focus on ships with direct, combat-oriented upgrades that hit hard regardless of the rest of the fleet's status. 

 

My last fleet build and crushing loss to my Armada partner made me reflect on my approach to the game and the challenges Armada poses to the new player...or at least to me.

That fleet was a four-ship combo of ISD / Glad / Raider / Goz with minimal screen. My strategy was: Raider to chase obstacles and be Squadron Killer. The Goz would disrupt enemy commanding and defense. The Glad would get in one or two broadsides to do damage and further expend defense. And the ISD hit from the front for the kill and force hard decisions about taking damage or permanent discarding defense tokens. Each was a modest ship, together meant to be a unified fleet.

My opponent had an MC80 and a Frigate, upgraded to ~150pts each, and a bunch of unique squadrons. It was a simple fleet: if an enemy was close or medium range, it would die from an upgraded-to 6-9 dice pool. The named squadrons would destroy any weak Imperial squadrons without hindrance.

My fleet...I still like the concept. But it requires precision flying to have multiple ships all in range of a single enemy's ship in a round. My opponent simply needed to wait for me to fly one of my ships in range of one of his uber-ships so he could blow it up.

I've realized, a handful of games in, this "Voltron" approach to fleet building is too complicated. Not when still I struggle to keep ships from flying off the game board. I need to simplify my thinking to a couple of ships, each hitting hard independent of the rest of the fleet's status.

This means, for the short-term, buying a Goz and a second VSD were wastes of money. The ISD was a good buy, though. I need to learn what new or duplicate ships I can buy that provide standalone fighting capability and give cards that let me construct more powerful dice pools.

I also have the feeling -- perhaps confirmation bias to salve my wounded ego -- that the Rebel fleet is easier to construct as a beginner subsequent to Wave 5. The Rebels have twice the choices with Liberty, Home One, MC30, and Assault Frigate compared to the Empire's ISD and Gladiator.

 
 
 

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You are not flying individual ships, you are flying a formation as imperials.

You have an ISD, the ISD kills the enemy.

You have a Raider, it keeps the squadrons clear of the ISD.

You have a gladiator, it threatens the flanks of the ISD to keep the enemy in the front arc of the ISD.

You have a Gozanti, it supports the ISD.

You have an ISD, the ISD kills the enemy.

You have an ISD, the ISD kills the enemy.

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Using one ship to push an enemy ship towards a second ship in a coordinated and geometrically intentional way is exactly what I can't do yet. Hence my post. 

Other challenges included:

However, the raider got to close to the Frigate and died in a single attack.

 

The GSD got a good hit on the Frigate, but never saw it again.

 

The ISD was outmatched by the fully upgraded MC80 with Satu.

 

The Gozanti had to be within Close / Medium range to effect the enemy, which put it within death range of, fully upgraded ships.

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About your last point, I think the feeling that the rebels are easier at first has to do with their available basic squadrons, which are almost all threatening against both enemy squads and ships. When putting together a basic fleet which should be at least somewhat effective, you have to decide how to deal with squadrons and want at least two credible threats to enemy ships. A couple of rebel fighter-bombers already cover the squadron-dealing and are threatening to ships by themselves, while the Empire does not have that luxury and has to put some more thought in.

But basically it sounds like your opponent went with a fleet which is more straight-forward (in the non-jousting sense :))  than yours, and thus easier to use.

Try to keep it simple for your first battles: basic damage dealing ships and a reasonable squadron cover, not too many sophisticated interactions in upgrades and squadrons, and try to be as independent as possible from precise maneuvering. Maneuvering is difficult unless you have some experience, which makes the Slicer Tools Gozanti, squadron hunting Raider, and shepherding Demolisher all challenging at first. You can propably get one of those to work in your first fights, but all three at the same time is quite ambitiuous. Of course you already figured that out yourself, so I am really preaching to the choir here.

Maybe use the ISD2 with Gunnery Teams for its increased threat range, think about the GSD2 Demo for additional anti-squadron if you don't feel safe, and drop the Raider for a Gozanti and additional squadrons? Also: Leading shots and Ordnance Experts will give you the important reroll abilities and you could change Vader for Motti to make your ships tougher or Jerjerrod to help maneuvering. (When playing your first friendly games it should be no problem to proxy those cards, right?)

Basically: Try to make your ships more forgiving to the errors you are going to make at first and ramp up the necessary precision from there when you feel comfortable. Just remember that the Emperor is not as forgiving as Lord Vader - Force choking is bad enough, we would not want you to get struck by lightning if you keep losing...

 

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